Fence Ideas

Updated February 21, 2017

Fences are used to divide property, create privacy, keep in animals and children or add character to a piece of property. For hundred of years, fences have served the same purpose. Fortunately, today, several different fencing ideas are available to meet your fencing needs.


Barbed wire is one of the oldest types of fencing. Barbed wire was first used by farmers in the early 1880s to keep livestock from escaping. These barbed-wire fences signalled a shift from the open prairies championed by many farmers. Barbed-wire fences have, of course, changed significantly since the 1880s. For example, barbed wire is now designed to endure harsh weather conditions. One advantage of barbed-wire fencing is that it's relatively cheap to set up, requiring only posts, wire and fixing devices. One disadvantage is that these fences can be hazardous to animals, particularly deer, and children who may get tangled in the barbed wire.


A split-rail fence is a wooden fence split lengthwise into rails. The benefit of a split-rail fence is that it's used to divide property without obstructing the view of the landscape. Moreover, split-rail fences are relatively inexpensive and cover a great distance. For the environmentally conscious, split-rain fences are sometimes made from recycled plastic. However, they will not keep out all animals. For example, dogs are able to squeeze between the rails, and deer may be able to jump over the fence.


A white-picket fence is the quintessential American fence. A picket fence divides property and adds a level of privacy and security. Moreover, the pre-cut pieces make it relatively easy for homeowners to install a picket fence without hiring help. Unlike a barbed-wire fence, nothing unwelcoming exists about a picket fence. Keep in mind that, unless you apply a water-repellent finish, most picket fences require minor repairs and replacement boards. Whether you decide to use finish or not, check your picket fence every couple months for splintering, peeling, mould and rot.

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About the Author

Thomas King is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he served as managing editor of the "Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law." He currently lives in Aberdeen, Washington where he writes and practices law.